Delmarya Fier’s love life was far from a roaring success as she didn’t even know what it was like to have a crush reciprocated, but her academic life was nearly perfect. Her second term grades came in …
Of course, she only received A+s. She’d never seen anything else. A? A-? Never! The thought of such grades defacing something of hers was horrific enough.
At any rate, it was the Lunar New Year, so all ten of Asher’s living children gathered at the family’s second home in Windenburg to greet their parents, socialize with one another, and hopefully enjoy the beautiful Windenburg outdoors.
But the weather was awful.
Regardless, Asher called all five of his youngest children together for a photo.
That turned out well, but when he tried to use the tripod to get everyone together, the results were less promising. As photogenic as the Fiers were, the camera didn’t function as well as one would like and it was hard for them to tell when it would actually take a picture. Only Asher was ever prepared. The idea of a massive family photo was abandoned as no one wanted to continue wasting time posing.
For the curious, from left to right: Delmarya (13th child), Dawn (12th child), Barin (8th child), Cora (11th child), Asher, Darius (15th child), Adelise, Dyna (16th child), Calanthe (9th child), Chelsea (10th child), Dysis (14th child) and Aster (1st child).
Later, Barin caught one of his kid sisters, Deli, with homework in hand and had a playful go at her.
Barin: Hey, what are you doing? Let’s chat. Aren’t your grades high enough already? It’s nuts to be that into homework.
At first, Deli ignored him.
But when he pushed the issue, Deli snapped, slightly.
Deli: Please—Hmm, please consider leaving me alone and minding your own business.
Deli took a seat at the bar in the kitchen, intending to do homework, but she was conflicted. Why did her actions often seem to put others off? If she did well in school, she’d get an offer for a great job, which she already had, but still… It was good to be hardworking and wasn’t Dysis also working?
Darius, who watched the exchange between her and Barin, took a seat beside her.
Darius: Are you okay?
Deli: Yes, why?
Darius: I don’t get why you snapped at him. He wasn’t wrong. We don’t see him often and if you’re having some trouble with something, which it kind of seems like you are, he might be able to help you more than the rest of us can. Barin’s a vampire like you.
Deli knew that Darius wasn’t wrong, but she often felt uncomfortable at gatherings like this. She loved her family, but seeing so many vampires and acknowledging that she was a vampire too always made her feel slightly out of control. Her existence wasn’t normal. Most weren’t vampires. It meant things for the future that she didn’t want to think about. She’d already promised herself that she didn’t need to deal with being a vampire until after she graduated.
Homework was oddly comforting because her grades were easy to control. All she had to do was put a little studying in, then perfect marks (and usually praise) came out. School was something she understood; it was simple; it felt safe. Talking to Barin about life and being a vampire—no thanks, not now. She wished they would leave her alone to do what she did well. Plus, Dysis was doing work too and no one asked her to stop.
They only encouraged Dysis, but Deli had to admit that there was a difference between her grades and Dysis’ and there was a difference between what good grades would do for Deli’s career (not that much, but learning more was interesting) and Dysis’. Dysis hadn’t even started her career yet.
When Dysis finished her presentation, she felt accomplished (never again would she nearly get a failing grade for not presenting).
But she was also exhausted and had to sit down for a nap.